Scrum Alliance Newsletter - May 2012


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Letter from the Managing Director


By Carol McEwan

As I get ready to head out for Scrum Gathering Atlanta 2012, I'm excited to see the culmination of all the hard work co-chairs Peter Borsella and James Smith have put into the event. I'm looking forward to meeting our members and attending the lineup of exciting presentations and sessions.

If you aren't able to join us in Atlanta, be sure to plan for Scrum Gathering Barcelona 2012, October 1-3. Co-chairs Jaume Jornet and Heitor Roriz Filho are gearing up to announce a Call for Papers soon, so watch our website for more information!

In talking with members I’ve received some great feedback on how the Scrum Alliance helps members and where we can improve. Two themes seem to emerge: What will the future of the Scrum Alliance look like and how will the Scrum Alliance continue to support members beyond certification?

To help us with these two areas, we’ve contracted with two stellar marketing consultants, Judy Leidy and Pecanne Eby. They have worked with us the last 30 days conducting member interviews, working with the Scrum Alliance team, and the Board of Directors. The information we've gathered has helped us gain a fresh perspective on how we can enhance our member experience and what our marketing initiatives may look like moving forward.

Some of you have already met Judy Leidy and Pecanne Eby through the member interview process. Others of you will have the opportunity to meet them face to face at the Scrum Gathering in Atlanta.

The result from this engagement is a two-fold plan that addresses a) improvements in the member experience and b) a tactical marketing plan to address a variety of objectives. If you would like to learn more, see the article below titled “Member Listening Leads to Marketing Planning.”

Before I close this month's letter, I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to speak with Judy and Pecanne. We'd love to hear what you think too, so please stop by our table at the Gathering to share your thoughts and ideas. It's this kind of input that will make our branding initiatives such a success.

Carol McEwan 
Managing Director
Scrum Alliance, Inc.

Progress Update on the Agile Atlas Project
By Ron Jeffries

April has seen some changes to the Agile Atlas. Much of the learning is still invisible. The strategy seems stable now. There will be at least one session at the Scrum Gathering. For details, read on!


We seem to have settled, among all the key parties, on a strategy for the Atlas, and it has stood the test of time, perhaps as much as six weeks.

The home area of the Atlas will consist of pages describing Scrum essentials, as understood by the Scrum Alliance, the Scrum Trainers, the Curators, and other stakeholders. The idea in the home area is to describe the Scrum that almost everyone agrees about. This will not be "bland" Scrum, but "crisp" Scrum. We'll get agreement at that level from being clear, not from being vague.

Frankly, this is challenging, as Scrummers everywhere care deeply about what Scrum is, and about exactly how we say it. But we're getting there, and we'll get closer as time goes on.

The home pages of the Agile Atlas should include all the written information a CSM candidate would need in order to pass the Scrum Alliance exam, although everyone believes strongly that the CSM course provides an understanding and depth that goes well beyond anyone's written word. The Atlas can provide facts about Scrum: The course helps people begin to understand.

Beyond the home pages, there will be two kinds of information. First of all, there will be many articles on the details of Scrum and the areas where discoveries are being made or alternate approaches need discussion. Most of the alternative ideas seem to be around how a Scrum installation should work, given current realities of their organization. We all agree that we "should" fix the organization, but we do not all agree what to do in the meantime. This part of the site should continue to grow over time and should include some of the newest and most challenging thinking around Scrum.

Another key area of the site will address things that are not part of Scrum, even some things that may at first seem to be counter to Scrum. These will be things like Kanban, Lean, Extreme Programming, and so on. Some ideas in this space will be very challenging, especially since some of their proponents think of them as alternatives to Scrum.

Your Curators believe that these ideas are all part of the "same elephant," and that Scrum users will benefit from understanding what they are, and from making their own decisions about how the ideas might fit into their lives. Our curatorial focus will be on helping people see how all these things fit together, rather than how they might divide us.


The most challenging part of all this, after putting up with the intensity of feedback, is figuring out the site's organization, look, and feel. That's turning out to be difficult, in that we have a "vision" of what it should be, but we can't really choose what it is until we see it. So we have been running our designer ragged making prototypes. Week before last, we got to a point where she understood well enough what we were up to that she was able to put together a prototype that looks good, is easy to use, and that should be readily extendable.

You'll be seeing changes to the new format soon, as our designer begins to put it in.


There have been a few changes: Some new articles are up in the articles section. There are new facilities on the curating side to let us better format articles, and to let us indicate how articles are related to each other. Unfortunately, most of these changes are not visible to users. We see this as a failure, as we believe that every Sprint should show visible progress. If you were a Curator, you could see progress, but as an ordinary reader, it's harder to see.


Chet and Ron will be giving a session on the Atlas at the Atlanta Scrum Gathering. There will be time to corner us and talk about what should be done. No physical contact beyond handshaking, please, even if you don't agree with us. And keep an eye on the open space sessions: There has been some talk of having an open space about the Atlas.

Looking further out, we see some challenges for the Scrum Alliance, and for all of us. We need to find ways to help Scrum teams be much more successful than they often are. We need to recognize the really good ideas that are out beyond the Scrum borders, and learn how to integrate them into our thinking. We need to recognize the business changes around us, and to decide how to respond to those changes, whether we are individual Scrum users, trainers, or the Scrum Alliance.

The Agile Atlas project wants to be part of helping us all address the challenges of the future, and we remain focused on doing what we can. If you see a way that you can help, please get in touch with us, at the Gathering or via the Atlas website. Thanks!

Member Listening Leads to Marketing Planning

By Pecanne Eby


First off, congratulations. On what? Congratulations for caring enough about your professional career to be part of the Scrum Alliance. A professional society is not much without its members.

Through our initial discovery phase, Judy and I have found the Scrum Alliance to be a strong professional society. Like any organization, the Scrum Alliance is going through growth spurts and often those can be uncomfortable “chapters.” Our initial discovery work, however, is painting a picture of great potential. Our in-depth interviews with members have been very meaningful and candid. Thank you to all who went out of your way to take our calls! Our work with the Scrum Alliance team has been inspiring and we anticipate unifying our vision and path forward during our upcoming meeting with the Board of Directors.

We are still synthesizing all of our input and discovery work but the vision and plan is growing clearer each day. Our initial recommendations will be shared with the Board of Directors in early May and we anticipate a complete plan will be ready by end of June. Once there is consensus on the marketing and member experience plan, we will pitch in alongside the Scrum Alliance team (and willing volunteers) to begin implementation. Will everyone agree with our recommendations? Probably not, but that’s OK. We understand that a fundamental principle of Scrum is to inspect and adapt, and we will honor this in our planning.

In the end, we are here to help you make the Scrum Alliance that membership you can’t live without and can’t wait to tell others about.

If you would like to provide thoughts, concerns, and/or ideas related to your member experience and/or the marketing efforts by the Scrum Alliance, click here to send us an email. Or, better yet, come talk to us at the Scrum Gathering on Monday, May 7, 2012.

Maximizing the Value of Your Stand-up

By Eric King

Over the last several years, I've been both a participant and a facilitator in many different stand-ups. As we know, the true value of the stand-up lies in the team's ability to continually strive toward the "commitment" for the current sprint cycle. The stand-up isn't a status report, yet often it becomes easy for team members to slip into a pattern of providing status-related information. I've used the time-honored stand-up approach for a while now, but I've often thought that a mature team could...

Read the rest of this article and more member-contributed content on our website.



LAST WEEK to REGISTER for the Scrum Gathering Atlanta 2012 taking place at the Atlanta Marriott Buckhead Hotel & Conference Center, May 7th – 9th, 2012.

The Scrum Gathering Atlanta 2012 is looking to be the biggest Scrum Gathering to date! Make sure you are a part of it! CHECK OUT THE PROGRAM ONLINE!

Check out the sponsorship opportunities HERE. Thank you to our signed sponsors: VersionOne, RedCritter, PMI, SolutionsIQ, 3Back, Kitty Hawk Consulting, Prowareness, Agile Learning Labs, and KM-Ware Solutions!

Mark your calendar for the Scrum Gathering Barcelona 2012 – October 1 – 3, 2012 at the Fira-Palace, Barcelona, Spain.

Co-Chairs Jaume Jornet and Heitor Roriz Filho are excited to get started! Check back for Call for Papers early this spring!


We are proud to announce our first Regional Scrum Gathering in Buenos Aires, Argentina, taking place May 23-24, 2012. There will be a traditional conference on the first day with several tracks of workshops and talks, followed by a second full day of Open Space, where attendees can propose topics and vote on sessions. The event will feature two great keynote speakers, Alan Cyment and Xavier Quesada Allue.

We are now accepting submissions for speakers! Click here to leave your mark on the South American Scrum community and have your ideas heard. Registration is also open and includes a special discount for Scrum Alliance members and Early Bird pricing until April 15th. Register now!

Check out the sponsorship opportunities and more details here.

Buenos Aires - Regional Scrum Gathering Organization Team

The Cincinnati Day of Agile -- Cincinnati, OH. Saturday, May 19, 2012

Agile-Scrum International Summit -- Bangalore, India. December 7-9, 2012

Did you know you can now sign into our website with your login name OR your email address? Try it today!

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